New Orleans Pelicans @ Dallas Mavericks

Published: January 2, 2016

Tonight, the New Orleans Pelicans (10-22) on (I hate) the Dallas Mavericks (19-14) in Dallas. This is the first of the away-home pair to close the season series, which is 1-1 at the moment. The game is at 7:30 pm CT (UTC -6) and is on Fox Sports New Orleans and the Pelicans Radio Network, 99.5 FM locally.

Despite several indication from the team that changes are coming, Quincy Pondexter remains inactive and the starting lineup remains Asik, Davis, Evans, Gee, and Gordon.

Update: Evans is Out. Cole is in the stsrting lineup in his place.

The Mavericks’ rotation is a little in flux, but Williams returned to active play last night. So, Nowitzki, Parsons, Pachulia, Matthews, and either Williams or Barea should start. It’s unclear if Harris will be available.

Dallas is an pretty unbelievably average team. They really aren’t extreme in many ways, either on offense or defense, though they offense is slightly better than their defense. They shoot three’s more often than the average team, but they make them at a little less than the typical rate. And so it goes, except for turnovers; the Mavericks protect the ball very well on offense. Not sure that helps.

As such, there are no obvious soft spots to attack for the Pelicans, which means the Pelicans have to do their own thing and do it well. That means dictating the pace. That doesn’t mean “run run run.” That means moving the ball, getting into the offense, resetting when necessary, taking the first acceptable shot and getting back on defense. It’s more about dictating than pace.

This is essentially an average team, and, as such, is a good test for the Pelicans to measure their progress.

All that said, Davis is by far the best player in this game. If the team can feed him correctly, the Pelicans should win. “Correctly” is the key word here. In recent games, execution has been poor, and it’s been worse in critical situations.

Watch the fundamentals tonight, and if you see a lapse, ask yourself: “How old is a player when they are supposed to learn this?”

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